Herbstreit rips Pryor a new one

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Former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit currently resides in Columbus and even has a regular radio gig in the heart of Buckeye Nation.

After his scorched-earth diatribe against the Buckeyes’s current starting quarterback on College GameDay this morning, a change of address — or the witness protection program — may be in the offing for Herbie.

In a discussion about the trials and tribulations of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Herbstreit absolutely went off on the sophomore.  I mean off off.  Off in a “that man kicked my wife and slept with my dog” kinda way.

After fellow analyst Desmond Howard got the discussion started by saying he believed Pryor and the Buckeyes would get things back on track, Herbstreit hit the “FIRE!” button and launched his verbal assault.

“It remains to be seen if I think they can get it back on track,” Herbstreit said in a grouping of words that turned out to be the kindest, gentlest thing he had to say.  “I think there are bigger issues here than just Terrelle Pryor had a bad game against Purdue.

“The thing that I see, is, Terrelle Pryor came in with all the attention and all the hype and all of the athletic ability, and you don’t see him progressing to become a complete ‘quarterback’.  Knowing down and distance, knowing about the play clock, knowing what hash you’re on.  Being able to read defenses, being able to just grow and develop as a quarterback.

“Listen, we’ve watched Tate Forcier as a true freshman have a better understanding of what it means to be a quarterback than Terrelle Pryor.  We’ve seen Matt Barkley as a true freshman have a better understanding of being a quarterback and what that means than Terrelle Pryor.  So he is not advancing as a quarterback, and to me that is more alarming — and the fact they can’t find a system that fits his abilities — is more alarming than any of the numbers coming off a bad game against Purdue.

“This is a big deal.”

Lee Corso then suggested that OSU run the football to take some of the pressure off Pryor.  Herbstreit answered Corso’s suggestion with even more personal jabs at Pryor, and added some biting shots at the offensive line for good measure.

“They can’t run the ball because they have one of the biggest underachieving offensive lines in the last ten years in college football history.  And they are uninspired, uninspired consistently, so you can’t run the football.

Terrelle Pryor allegedly runs a 4.3 forty… that means you run away from defenders if you run a 4.3 forty.  That’s like having a 100 mile-per-hour fastball.  He’s playing like he runs a 5.3 forty, not a 4.3 forty.  He lumbers horizontally.  He doesn’t get up field and run with the football… he looks shackled, he looks confused, his body language is terrible.  Other than that he’s playing well.”

Ummm, wow?

I don’t know who urinated in Herbstreit’s Cheerios this morning, but I’m thinking Herbie believes they were clad in Scarlet & Gray.

Division II, Division III and NAIA title games set while FCS heads into semifinals

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Outside of a thrilling Army-Navy game and the Heisman ceremony, it was an empty Saturday at the highest level of college football.

But no so at the lower levels.

The divisional playoffs are cranked into high gear. Let’s take a brief look at where everything stands in each division.

FCS

Top-seeded and defending champion James Madison needed a last-second field goal to survive visiting Weber State, 31-28, on Friday night, while No. 5 seed South Dakota State routed New Hampshire, 55-14.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed and winner of five of the last six national titles North Dakota State walloped Wofford, 42-10 in Fargo. No. 6 seed Sam Houston State outlasted upstart Kennesaw State, 34-27, to send the Bearkats into their fifth semifinal game in the last seven years.

Semifinals: No. 5 South Dakota State at No. 1 James Madison — 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPNU; No. 6 Sam Houston State at No. 2 North Dakota State — 8 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2.

Division II

No. 4 seed West Florida traveled north and upset top-seeded Indiana (Pa.), 27-17 on Saturday, to send the Argonauts into their first championship game. No. 2 seed Texas A&M-Commerce fended off the option attack of No. 3 Harding (Ark.), 31-17, putting the Lions in their first title game as well.

National championship: No. 2 Texas A&M-Commerce vs. No. 4 West Florida — 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Division III

In a similar dynamic to FCS, the defending champion is on a collision course with the traditional champion. In the first semifinal, defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) blanked Brockport (N.Y.), 24-0. The Crusaders will make their third trip to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, looking to win their second title.

In the other semifinal, Mount Union (Ohio) overcame a 21-10 deficit to beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 43-40. The Purple Raiders will play in their 20th Stagg Bowl — all of them coming since 1993, and 19 of them since ’96 — with a shot at their 13th national championship. However, Mount Union has won just — “just” — two national championships since 2009.

National championship: Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) vs. Mount Union (Ohio) — 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN at Salem Stadium in Salem Va.

NAIA

The NAIA was off this weekend, taking a break in between last week’s semifinals and Saturday’s national championship. Defending champion Saint Francis (Ind.) out-gunned previously-undefeated Morningside (Iowa) 43-36 in the first semifinal, while Reinhardt (Ga.) held off undefeated Southern Oregon, 37-34 in double overtime.

National championship: Saint Francis (Ind.) vs. Reinhardt (Ga.) — 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN3 at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Minnesota lands commitment from 6-foot-8, 395-pound offensive tackle

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P.J. Fleck is going to need a bigger boat.

Minnesota has landed a commitment from the largest recruit on record, as 6-foot-8, 395-pound offensive tackle Daniel Faalele has committed to the Gophers. Faalele made the announcement on his Twitter page on Saturday night.

A 3-star recruit, Faalele is rated as the No. 29 offensive tackle in the country, according to 247Sports. He listed 20 offers, including from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and LSU.

As the story goes, Faalele did not find football; football found him. He was discovered by a recruiter from Hawaii working out at a gym in his native Melbourne, Australia. He attended a Michigan satellite camp in Australia and played this season — his first season in pads — at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

In making the trip from the Land Down Under to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Faalele will be joined by a pair of IMG Academy teammates in offensive lineman Curtis Dunlap, Jr., and quarterback Zack Annexstad, who also committed to Minnesota on Saturday.

Those pledges now give Minnesota the 26th best recruiting class in the country and the sixth best in the Big Ten — but the No. 1 class in the Big Ten West — in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Minnesota’s class may not be the best in the country, but it’s among the biggest — both in size (the Gophers have 25 pledges thus far) and stature.

Texas A&M suspends DT Zaycoven Henderson amid felony gun charges

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Texas A&M defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson was suspended amid multiple felony charges on Saturday.

As detailed by Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News, witnesses say Henderson pointed a rifle at one person outside College Station’s Campus Village Apartments and threatened to kill two others and allegedly threw the gun out of a fleeing car as police arrived on the scene. The car was later tracked down by College Station officers, who discovered marijuana in the car.

He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and marijuana possession. The first charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in a prison. The second is a third-degree felony and the third is a misdemeanor.

He was booked into the Brazos County (Texas) jail at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Texas A&M has suspended Henderson indefinitely, which really only lasts one game as the senior from Longview, Texas, was set to close his Aggies career in the Belk Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 29 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Henderson made 35 tackles with five TFLs and 2.5 sacks in 12 starts this season. He was honored as a member of Texas A&M’s senior class at the annual team banquet earlier this weekend.

UCLA reportedly hires Paul Rhoads as defensive backs coach

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Chip Kelly has reportedly hired one of the most respected men in the business to his staff. According to a report from Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman, Paul Rhoads is on his way to Westwood to coach UCLA’s defensive backs.

Rhoads spent the past two seasons at Arkansas, the first as defensive backs coach and the second as defensive coordinator in addition to his duties with the secondary. He’s best known, of course, for his 7-year run as the head coach at Iowa State, where he took the Cyclones to three bowl games and created this viral moment before any of us knew what “going viral” went.

In addition to Arkansas, Rhoads also owns defensive experience at Auburn, Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Pacific, Ohio State and Utah State.

UCLA finished last season ranked 74th in pass efficiency defense, yielding a 57.1 percent completion rate for 7.3 yards per attempt with seven interceptions against 18 touchdowns.